May 05 2009

A Short Intro to Long Waves

I often get questions about long waves.

Because long waves in the economy appear to be the fundamental driver of great explorations, macro-engineering projects, and even major wars over the last 200 years, I’ve added 10 links to the blogroll that have been especially useful to me in understanding long waves. These can serve as a long wave primer within the specialities of interest (e.g., demographics) to you.

Many other interesting long wave sites exist. Your questions and comments, and suggestions for additions are very welcome.

1. Brian J. L. Berry — Long Waves, Economics, and Politics.

Dr. Berry is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has been a professor at the University of Chicago and Harvard. Currently he is the Dean of the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

He’s written one of the most compelling books on long waves: Long-Wave Rhythms If you click on the book image on his website you’ll get a better idea of what’s involved; you can also search some of his articles. His writing is sophisticated, detailed, and satisfyingly authoritative.

2. Cesare Marchetti — Technology, Economics, and the 56 Year Energy Cycle.

Originally trained as a physicist and since 1974 a Senior Scientist with IIASA in Austria, Marchetti has impressive insight into a wide range of fields.

I suggest you start with this New Scientist paper where he touches on the 56 year energy cycle discovered by Hugh Stewart — but almost anything of his will expand your perspectives.

The 56 year energy cycle was discovered by Hugh B. Stewart in 1989; his book is available HERE. Stewart’s book is data-rich and impressive.

I first read about the 56 year energy cycle in Predictions by a former university and corporate physicist, Theodore Modis, Ph.D. In Chapter 8 he reveals the secret.

3. Christian Zimmermann — Real Business Cycle Home Page.

Dr. Zimmermann, an associate professor of economics at the University of Connecticut, runs the Quantitative Macroeconomics and Real Business Cycle Home Page.

4. Edward Cheung — Long Waves and Demographics.

Mr Cheung has published an extraordinary book: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Social Cycles. For clarity and completeness, I highly recommend it.

5. George Modelski — Long Cycle World Politics Theory.

Dr. Modelski is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington.

He maintains the Evolutionary World Politics Home Page. This is a vast resource in many areas including globalization, democratization, and world system history. A good place to start is, Global Political Evolution, Long Cycles, and K – Waves.

6. Ian Gordon — Longwave Group and Economics.

Located in British Columbia, Canada, Mr. Gordon uses long wave theory and data as the basis for his investment business. His site presents a rich source of material on long wave basics.

7. Joshua Goldstein — Long Wave Theory and War.

Currently, professor emeritus at American University and research scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Goldstein is author of the best-selling textbook, International Relations.

He’s written extensively and for decades on long waves and war, and how they interact. You might want to start with his 2005 article, The Predictive Power of Long Wave Theory…

8. Michael A. Alexander — Long Waves and Generational Cycles.

Dr. Alexander is a research engineer at the Pharmacia Corp in Kalamazoo, MI.

His seminal book, The Kondratiev Cycle: A Generational Interpretation, has shown that long waves and Strauss & Howe generational cycles are correlated.

9. NATO Advanced Workshop on Long Waves, War, and Global Security (2005).

This volume, from an international conference in Portugal, presents state-of-the-art long wave data and analysis.

Significant theoretical support for long waves goes back to the 1950s when National Medal of Technology winner and MIT Sloan Professor Emeritus Jay Forrester developed the System Dynamics National Model. When their model displayed a “50-year rise and fall of economic actitivy” they first checked for errors, but rapidly realized it was a “surprise discovery.”

10. Strauss and Howe — Long Waves, Generations, and History.

Neil Howe and William Strauss (d. 2007) wrote Generations in 1991.

Their current website explores “what the cycles of history tell us about America’s next rendezvous with destiny.”

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